Challenge - "Seashells in B&W"
Suggested by - Lauren via blog
Southwold was buzzing mid-morning, by the time I arrived at this pretty Suffolk seaside town. As well as the annual antiques fair on Gun Hill, today was also the Southwold RNLI fund raising fete, celebrating 150 years. They had been looking for volunteers to help out.
Hmmm, Southwold! I thought, when I saw their plea on Thursday. Sunday was to be 'seashell' day so, why not kill two birds with one stone?
I was there on a dual mission. Those of you who follow my blog, will recall that I do like to support the great guys of the RNLI, so a few hours helping them out, followed by an afternoon fulfilling the brief for day 4, on a gorgeous summer day in this lovely place, wouldn't be a bad way to fill my Sunday. Easy!
A casual conversation with one of the crew made me a little concerned though.
"Don't go to the main bit of the beach, you won't find many shells there. Go beyond the pier or down the harbour end of the beach"
Not many shells? How difficult could it be? Every beach has shells!
I heeded the advice though and started my search for shells close to the harbour, the first shell I found being a slightly weather-worn scallop the size of a £2 coin. I carried on. Half a cockle, a broken cockle, a sea polished fragment of shell, half a tiny cuttlefish. Ok, so the cuttlefish technically isn't a shell but in the absence of much else, it would have to do. I wasn't doing very well.
For forty minutes I scoured tide-line to dune-edge for any shell. A few small mussels finally completed the collection and then there was the question of the photograph. I had had a set-up in mind: A close-up of a row of shells beautifully edging the sea wall, with the famous (and expensive!) row of beach huts trailing off into the distance behind them. Clichéd maybe but there was no fear of this image ever reaching fruition. For one, my pathetic collection of shells would never create a stunning border, notwithstanding the sweet little toddler Clementine, who took more than a keen interest in the mussel shells, picking them off the heap with a "Wad dis?"
I retreated back along the beach, the SE wind whipping the sand up into my eyes. All this expanse, I thought, and just a few sad examples of shells to show for it. How could I portray this? Near the dune edge, little sand-bowls had formed, surrounded by shingle margins- an ideal showplace for the tiny shells I had in my hand. Looking back along the vast open beach towards the town and the famous white lighthouse, I saw the backdrop. In the sky above, windswept clouds provided an interesting light effect.
The resulting image creates a thoughtful image of shells. Not obvious, not clichéd, just a lovely rounding off to the day.
And a lovely day it was too, with the guys from the RNLI declaring the day a huge success. Oh, and if you want to see a piccy of me dressed in full RNLI crew kit, you will have to shout up; share; like; whatever. The louder you shout, the more likely I am to share the image! I tell you what, as well as the big respect I have for them for the job they do, I have admiration for them having to wear that kit. Getting into it alone, I felt a sense of achievement although there was a fun side to it too. Once zipped in, I was instructed to pull the rubber seal around my neck forwards whilst squatting down. This expelled the warm, vaguely rubbery air past my face. Replacing the neck seal whilst standing up again, the suit clung strangely to my body. Weird!
Still, the exercise was all in the name of raising money for the RNLI.
So, Lauren, I'm sure you will forgive me for the short-changed shells. My change went to the RNLI today.
The screen grab
My thanks to:
Lauren for the suggestion
The great guys at Southwold RNLI
Tomorrow, Day 5